August 27, 2012

Charles Samuelson, Executive Director for the ACLU-MN, 651.645.4097 x121;
William Pentelovitch, Partner at Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, 612-672-8338,

Minnesota Supreme Court allows misleading voting amendment to stay on the
November Ballot

St. Paul, Minn. – The American Civil Liberties Union expressed extreme disappointment today in Minnesota's Supreme Court for allowing the voter restriction amendment to stay on November's ballot. In a 4 – 2 decision the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the ACLU's argument that the ballot question was misleading and unclear, and upheld the amendment and ballot question as written by the Minnesota Legislature.

"The ACLU is disappointed in that the Court allowed a false and misleading amendment to stay on the ballot," stated Charles Samuelson, Executive Director of the ACLU-MN.

"The Minnesota State Legislature wasn't telling voters the truth about its proposed photo ID requirement for voting, and they have a right to know," said Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project. "Not only is this part of a wave of laws that have already had a severe impact on the right to vote nationwide, but this particular amendment effectively spells the end of Election Day registration, which significantly increases turnout."

The petition was filed in the Minnesota Supreme Court in June on behalf of the League of Women Voters Minnesota, Jewish Community Action and Common Cause Minnesota, as well as five individual plaintiffs: Gabriel Herbers, Shannon Doty, Gretchen Nickence, John Harper Ritten, and Kathryn Ibur.

In its decision the Court did provide clarification to photo ID requirements noting that absentee voters will also have to present photographic identification.

"A grave miscarriage of justice was done to Minnesota voters today when the Minnesota Supreme Court allowed this amendment to stay on the ballot as is," stated Bill Pentelovitch, of Mason Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP. "Minnesotans will walk into their polling place and cast a vote on a misleading and confusing amendment that could be permanently enshrined in the Minnesota Constitution."

The court also ruled today that the Secretary of State must use the title designated by the legislature. The ACLU-MN filed an amicus brief in this case arguing that the Secretary of State did have the authority to designate a title.

In the coming months the ACLU-MN will continue its efforts along with other advocacy groups to defeat the voter restriction amendment by talking to voters and educating them on how this will effectively end Election Day Registration, place hurdles in front of seniors and active duty military, and negatively impact citizens ability to absentee vote.

Attorneys in the case are: William Pentelovitch, Richard Wilson, Justin Perl, Wayne Moskowitz, Alain Baudry and Catherine Ahlin-Halverson of Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand, LLP and Laughlin McDonald of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, and Teresa Nelson of the ACLU of Minnesota.